It now appears there may be a deal on extending the payroll tax cut.
Sources say the agreement was brokered by the chiefs of staff to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid and Boehner, however, have not spoken yet.
It was hammered out by phone and email since top aides are scattered.
There will be a 5:00 pm ET conference call with House Republican members, in which they will learn the terms of the agreement. There is always the caution that until members give feedback, this remains tentative.
It would be expected that Boehner would announce a deal first later today at the earliest. The president would likely speak later.
Under the agreement, one of the tweaks to the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut would make the payroll reporting requirement easier for small businesses.
If the House acts and passes the short-term extension, the Senate could pass this by unanimous consent without calling senators back in person.
*** UPDATE *** Boehner just released this statement:
“Sen. Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas. I thank our Members – particularly those who have remained here in the Capitol with the holidays approaching – for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families.”